Maryland’s Question 7: A Lesson in Progressive Corruption

Think of the children!

Maryland is supposedly one of the most progressive states in the country. One can make one’s own calculations about what it means that such a state is ready to wholeheartedly embrace government-sanctioned gambling as the easy and cowardly solution to its fiscal problems, despite the fact that the populations most harmed by gambling are the very people good progressives are supposed to care about most. My assessment is that resorting to gambling for state revenue is irresponsible, callous, venal and hypocritical. But an unholy alliance of cynical liberals, who argue for gambling because its ill-gotten tax revenue will support education (and we all know that the more money you pay teachers, the better educated our children will be), greedy business interests, and libertarians, who regard gambling as “victimless,” is now poised to add casino table gambling to the state’s sanctioned traps for its poor, desperate, dumb, corrupt and addicted. should Maryland’s voters approve “Question 7” on the ballot November 6th.

How progressive.

Gambling is not victimless. I had an uncle, my lovable, charming, stupid Uncle Charlie, who worked like a dog as a truck driver and blew much of his paycheck every month on legal greyhound racing, where dogs chase a fake rabbit around a track and those that lose too often are killed and turned into landfill. Charlie’s wife and children seldom saw him, because he had to work extra hours to make up for the money he had blown, and then, of course, he gambled away that money too. His family was always poor, his kids grew up bitter and hard, and his entire family was routinely miserable. There are millions of Charlies, and a lot of them end up criminals, destitute, or dead, wrecking lives, futures and businesses along the way. We also end up having to pay for their poor, addicted choices, in the form of various forms of taxpayer-funded public support.

Maryland and the vast majority of states accepted the devil’s bargain of sucking revenue out of the foolish and gullible in exchange for creating more Uncle Charlies when they took over the neighborhood numbers rackets and started running their own lotteries. This meant, of course, that they had to also run despicable ad campaigns designed by behavioral experts to induce more people, poor people, to regularly raid their meager weekly income for the faint chance to become rich beyond their wildest dreams. The ads don’t tell the potential players to take the money they would have spent to play “Pick Six” or “Lucky Lotto” or  “Super Payday” and put it in a bank account, so they could begin saving to send their kids to college, or start a business, or buy some land—oh no. Because the state’s elected leaders want its vulnerable citizen to lose that money, so the craven officials don’t have to face the consequences of raising taxes on those scary voters who should be paying more for education, and who have the resources to do so.

Meanwhile, by running gambling operations themselves, the state now officially pronounces gambling legal, desirable and good. This is a core function of government (one that libertarians deny and detest), the job of delineating the moral and ethical values of society by its laws, conduct and policy. If the government and its leaders not only permit harmful conduct, but engage in it and urge citizens to engage in it too, they have pronounced that conduct good. This is called irresponsible and reckless leadership.

It is also called corruption.

Seeing how much revenue the state could bring in by encouraging minimum wage workers to spend five dollars a day on the gazillion to one chance of winning a 60 million dollar jackpot (“You have to play to win!”)—and knowing, but not telling, that if one of them does win, the odds say that the bonanza will a) last less than five years and b) ruin him—it was a natural progression for Maryland to allow slot machines. Slot machines are a vicious money-stealing device that use Skinnerian psychology to induce victims to throw away vast amounts of money in small amounts, for the pleasure of a moronic game made “exciting” by bells, lights, bright colors, and carefully programmed pay-off schedules. Anyone who can wander through the slot machine section of a casino at 2 am, seeing the shabbily dressed, dead-eyed players pushing buttons and pulling levers, and not be sickened and depressed is either spiritually dead, Robert DeNiro or a Maryland state legislator.

That income, raised at such a cost to the vulnerable citizens that this progressive state and its voters care so, so deeply about, was still not enough, since it was quickly spent by legislators on other projects that the state couldn’t afford. So naturally the next step is casino gambling. Maryland’s sensitive Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, is all for it. Do not doubt that after casino gambling is approved by the people of the state that has already pronounced gambling* good and virtuous, the next revenue grabs will be in the form of state run prostitution and recreational drugs. The state will have officially become the Corleone Family, and will endorse and foster the same moral code and ethical values that made Sonny, Michael and Fredo so happy and successful. Ah, but will the schools be better?

Of course not.

Last week, the Washington Post endorsed Maryland’s casino gambling scheme, in a depressing editorial that should be used in ethics classes as a perfect example of how the slippery slope works, and how principles yield to the seductive logic of “we already did the wrong thing; we might as well go all the way.”

“The real question for Marylanders is this,” reasoned the Post. “Having already approved five casinos in a 2008 referendum, why not agree to a modest expansion that would generate tens of millions more in annual tax revenue for the state, keep gambling proceeds from leaching into neighboring states such as West Virginia and create several thousand new jobs in the bargain?”

No, the real questions is this: is the road to increased government approval, endorsement and encouragement of gambling as a means of raising income at great social cost a road a responsible public should travel?

“Since Maryland embarked on slots-only casinos four years ago, three of its four neighbors — Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia — have upped the ante by allowing table games at their casinos. At the biggest neighboring venue, the gargantuan Hollywood casino in Charles Town, W.Va., at least a third of the customers come from Maryland. Whether or not gambling appeals to you, that’s the economic and competitive reality.”

So the Post’s reasoning comes down to this: Gambling should be approved because everybody’s doing it and making money from it, so Maryland might as well too. This what passes for ethical policy advocacy in 2012.

“We long opposed gambling in Maryland. That position was rendered moot by the 2008 referendum, when 59 percent of state voters approved the five casinos…The arguments against expanding gambling aren’t illegitimate, but they’re unconvincing given how the debate and the reality have evolved. It’s true that slot machines amount to a regressive tax, hurting poor people who can ill afford to play and lose. But table games — the main new element at stake in the referendum — attract more high-rollers than lunch-bucket gamblers.”

What kind of reasoning is this? It articulates an amoral and non-ethical philosophy. The position that state run gambling is wrong, or that anything that one believes is wrong is wrong, is not “rendered moot” by a majority decision to do it anyway!  That is never the case. What if abolitionists took such a position regarding the Fugitive Slave Act? How about women’s suffrage? Child labor? Prohibition? Jim Crow? Segregation? Miscegenation laws? If state run gambling is wrong and harmful, and it is, it remains so. Advocating an expansion of unethical conduct because it is already underway shows complete ethical rot. Stepping on a slippery slope is foolish; leaping down it because it’s there is mindless.

This is how societies corrupt their values, and ours.

* Excuse me, gaming. A sure sign that advocates of conduct know, in their heart of hearts, that it is dead wrong is when they carefully construct misleading words to minimize the conduct’s true character. “Gaming” has been the word employed by pro-gambling lobbyists to inflict gambling on the public, because it doesn’t suggest that inducing people to lose money is at the whole objective of the activity. But nobody ever lost their home, business or family playing Clue.

__________________________________________

Facts: Washington Post

37 thoughts on “Maryland’s Question 7: A Lesson in Progressive Corruption

  1. Well said. Support for government sanctioned gambling is a example of the ends justifying the means. If any government were ultimately concerned with the well being of those who need assistance, instead of the revenue gambling wrests from them, it would not supply the means to make so many poorer and worse off for their participation. In a way, Shirley Jackson’s “Lottery” was kinder as it took only one victim at a time.

  2. As all things, progressives have evolved over time. Very little of today’s progressivism would be recognizable to Theodore Roosevelt. Today’s progressives seem more like Libertines. They seem to be pro-gambling, pro-drug legalization, pro-pornography, etc. There is little in today’s progressivism that gives any thought to the good of the common man in society, very little that seeks to help the poor in any but a superficial way. Most of it seems to be geared towards legalizing the recreational activities of celebrities and the wealthy youth of America.

  3. Funny thing about the “gaming” dodge: it usually keeps the only remotely transparent aspect of the whole business (the sportsbook) out of the enterprise.

  4. Sorry if a dumb question: Can effectively regulated gaming/gambling be not wrong and not harmful?

    I guess where I am thinking on this is from a testability perspective. There is the idea of “means testing” of persons, for their eligibility to receive certain benefits. Similarly, is it impossible to have a system for gaming/gambling that is “means gated?” So that the players’ ability to afford losing what they are wagering can be verified before they’re allowed to gamble? (Sorry again, if I am seeming extremely ignorant here – but then, regarding gambling, I definitely AM ignorant.)

    I realize this touches the notion of instant background checks and the like, but even more intrusively, into the “estate value” or “net worth” of players. But I don’t know…with all the electronic and instant ways of doing commerce and moving money nowadays, it just seems like maybe there would be (or should be) ways to prevent individuals’ spending excessively. (I know, I know: Governments can’t control their spending, so how could they be trusted to control individuals’ spending, especially when that spending is for enabling governments’ spending?)

    Still, I have “gambled,” but so little, it’s been fun and hasn’t cost me any more than I planned to spend. Which is to say, it has cost me very little, and I know it hasn’t harmed me. I just want others to be able to have fun like I have had, while not letting other others, who don’t know how to stop themselves, from harming themselves.

    • Not a dumb question. I would draw the line at a government measuring my resources, maturity and character before I could be allowed to engage in a risky activity. That’s too much government oversight for me. The past system, in which low stakes, non-professional, casual gambling was given a pass by law-enforcement while organized gambling was prosecuted worked fine.

  5. Why is gambling an ethical wrong? Because people lose money? Is it not their choice to participate in games of chance? Are the odds on any given game and rule set not but a google search away?

    Gambling is only wrong if we accept that society, at an individual level, is incapable of making reasonable decisions. An assertion that is as wrong as it is unethical. To say nothing of offensive.

    The few gambling establishments Ive seen have all barred children and the mentally disabled from their games and offer black out or exclusionary programs for gambling addicts. Policies that serve to protect the only individuals who could conceivably be incapable of reasonable decision.

    I’ve seen the shabby glazed eyed players robotically work their machines.

    I think they’re all fools.

    But a great many would look at my hobbies and say the same.

    If it doesn’t violate someones rights without consent, how a person spends their money and chases their kicks is none of my business nor the governments. Nor should we out right ban gambling to save the few who wont save themselves. Your uncle and my mother included.

    • I think that’s a facile and illogical analysis. If the harm done by gambling could be held to just the gambler, you would be right. But gambling harms many others, innocents, in most cases, and worse, you and I have to pay for helping people survive who literally threw their money away. This is a great example of where 1) libertarian cant makes no sense and 2) libertarians stubbornly refuse to admit it.

      • Wrong for two reasons.

        First, people who would sell their families into debt like that would almost certainly be considered addicts. And as I mentioned most casinos have addict programs to prevent these individuals from playing.

        Secondly, your argument shows an almost total disregard for personal responsibility. If you are the wife of a man who has a demonstrable gambling problem, assuming for whatever reason that the addict program has failed, you have a responsibility to yourself and your kids to leave that situation. A reasonable judge will grant a divorce with custody against an obvious gambling addict.

        If he is indeed in such debt that he needs money to survive, the word survive being suspect, then even then he has recourse. By taking responsibility for himself and his actions he may declare bankruptcy, void his debts, and begin to rebuild his finances. Alternatively he may sign up for various welfare programs, which is the only way you or I may end indirectly and unwillingly incuring a cost. Yet even then the welfare system has controls in place to limit the damage done by those who would continue to be irresponsible while on it.

        This is a worst case scenario, and even then, it takes a profound failure of the addict programs and the personal responsibility of everyone surrounding an addict. The only way to “pay” for his failure is if you choose to, either by staying tethered to him or, if your his sibling/parents, by covering his debts for him. In either case you’d be the fool.

        • I suppose you are serious, which is doubly sad.
          The suggestion that casino gambling addict programs even scratch the surface of the problem caused by legal gambling is so manifestly absurd that I’m amazed that you dare make it. No addiction programs are particularly successful. The best way for gambling addicts or those predisposed to it to avoid catastrophe is not to have access to gambling. Your argument is like saying that drunk driving is OK because hospitals take good care of the injured.

          Your second argument is, against all odds, even worse. You are blaming the spouse of an addict for sticking around long enough to be hurt by him or her? Gambling addicts lose life’s savings. How does a divorce fix that?

          These are pathetic rationalizations, desperate and naive. I know its hard to accept when a nice, neat ideology doesn’t comport with reality, but face it: gambling does real and widespread harm. “Victimless” it is not.

          • Your argument is as offensive as it false.

            Addiction is not an on/off switch, it is a process. A man who has gambled away his nest egg is much more likely to have done it over numerous “binges” than he is to catastrophically gamble away his life savings the first time out. In the case of divorce, the courts have the ability to freeze assets and prevent their squandering by a vindictive or addicted spouse. Because of the legal system in place, designed to safeguard her financial security from the predations of a spouse, if the wife doesn’t leaver her husband (or vice-versa) the moment he refuses to stop gambling their important financial assets then she bears responsibility for her eventual financial ruin. Women today are not the helplessly dependent creatures of Victorian literature.

            It may seem cold, it may seem harsh, but better for a woman and her children to leave a sinking ship than to go down with it, no matter how much they love the ship.

            More so, the analogy regarding my argument and drunk driving is an interesting one. It is fundamentally false in that the worst consequences of an average person drunk driving are both, far more likely to happen than those of gambling, and likely to be far more catastrophic. Whats losing your house compared to killing yourself, your friends in the car with you, and the unsuspecting driver across from you? Though the analogy does offer an apt comparison for how society can expect personal responsibility in the use of vices. Drinking is undoubtedly far more destructive and damaging than gambling ever has been. And yet… are we out right banning the sale of alcohol? Of course not. We expect a measure of personal responsibility from those that consume it. There will always be those who abuse, but society as a whole has not seen the failure of a few sufficient to warrant the exclusion of all. Likewise there will always be those who will ruin their lives with gambling but this is not sufficient to deny the overwhelming remainder a legitimate past time.

            Finally, your last response had a fair bit of ad hominem, indirect and otherwise. I understand its a heated and sensitive subject for you, but I ask that it not override common civility.

  6. “…how a person spends their money and chases their kicks is none of my business nor the governments.”

    There are people who spend their money or chase their kicks in ways that make their business my and your (and the government’s) business. I believe Jack covered that, and has personal experience to support it.

    • I see you (erroneously?) omitted the first and most important clause.

      “If it doesn’t violate someones rights without consent…”

      Example 1, if a person person gets their kicks stealing (Wynnona Ryder style), that would clearly violates someones rights and then we can safely say it becomes other people business.

      Example 2, if a person of sound mind likes being speared by hooks and suspended by them (its a real thing btw) their consent would override the right that they would normally have to not being speared by hooks. Rights can be willfully suspended even if we don’t understand why someone would choose to do so. In this case its nobody’s business except those involved.

      There is no way that gambling money that you lawfully own would violate someones rights. In the case of the addict gambling his family into debt, I would say that this is unlikely to happen and if it does then his family has allowed it through their foolishness. There are many programs in place to prevent addicts from gambling, and not divorcing a man determined to sell you into poverty is a fools choice but still a choice; especially considering that most states can deduct owed alimony and child support money directly from the paychecks of the divorced – meaning he will never gamble away the money his family is dependent upon.

      • What makes “rights” the only criterion? Individuals often do horrible things to others without violating their “rights.” A boss who has to fire a hundred workers because his gambling addiction wrecked the company isn’t violating any rights. Irresponsible parents who destroy children’s prospects for a good future aren’t violating rights. Ethics doesn’t involve rights, in most cases. This is formulaic nonsense that allows you to ignore the stakes, the issues and the facts.

        • In so far as social law, regarding the proper conduct of citizens in society, the rights of the individual and the rights of others is the greatest of factors. Indeed it may be the only factor, no others leap to mind as I write.

          Starting first with the simpler explanation; a parent who ruins the life of a child as a result of his/her gambling addiction (or any addiction) has in fact violated the rights of the child. A right need not be explicitly stated in the Bill of Rights in order to be a defacto right, and there are undoubtedly laws and precedent, where parents ruining the live of children has resulted in severe legal action. This fits the formula.

          The business case is a bit more involved an explanation. There are only a few corporate types where the officers have totalitarian control over the finances of a corporation and the kinds of businesses that tend to utilize these structures, are unlikely to be have a significant number of employees. Specifically, totalitarian control, and the resultant possibility of sinking a business from gambling, is almost never found outside of small Sole Proprietorship and some LLCs.

          The internal checks, balances, and oversight of significantly large corporations make it wildly unlikely that any one officer of a corporation has unlimited and unrestricted access to corporate funds. Bad managers tank business everyday, but it is almost never from gross personal misconduct.

          So in the highly unlikely event that you are terminated as a result of catastrophic non-business related conditions, are your rights being violated? Provided you aren’t stiffed of any owed pay/benefits or other forms of theft, the answer would be a resounding no and it would be one supported by cultural preference and historical precedent. We are not socialist or communist. You do not have a right to a job, and laws regarding the protection of jobs for downsized employees are almost non-existent.

          Does this fit the formula? Yes. Is it unethical? Yes. But the alternative is to violate a greater ethical principle by having the state violate the autonomy of private organizations in the name of a right that doesn’t exist.

          As a closing counter example, if Becky cheats on her long time boyfriend Bobby, is she unethical? Yes. Should we pass laws making it illegal for girlfriends to cheat on their boyfriends (and vice-versa)? No. They arent married and have made no formal contract to each other. No rights have been violated and no laws should be made.

          We give our people a great deal of freedom and sometimes they do horribly unethical things with it. But that which is unethical is not always just to legislate.

          • “But the alternative is to violate a greater ethical principle by having the state violate the autonomy of private organizations in the name of a right that doesn’t exist.”

            The right is the right of a government, with the consent of the governed, to make such laws with due process that further and protect the welfare, health and safety of the society and its citizens. All such laws involve taking away some autonomy. Minimizing the harm done by proven destructive behaviors like gambling is an easy call, and for the government to not only shirk its duty to protect against such conduct, but actually encourage it as an unethical and cowardly substitute for proper. non-regressive revenue-raising methods, can’t be defended, which is why you have been unsuccessful defending it. The potential and demonstrative harm from gambling is massive; the benefits are slim. It harms the poor, dumb, gullible and otherwise vulnerable most, as well as innocent parties who depend on them. You argument is that it is entertaining. There are plenty of equally entertaining activities without the cost.

            Meanwhile, your discussion confuses duties with rights, and a de facto right is a right you make up according to the needs of your argument. You also confuse remedies with prevention. Divorce rulings and unemployment checks don’t do anything to prevent harm. Prohibition and enforcement does. the objective is to have less harm to society, not more ways to try to make the harm less devastating.

            • Proven destructive behavior? In what way? Your experience? Presuming universal truth from personal anecdote is a dangerous form of solipsistic reasoning. Is Las Vegas a post apocalyptic wasteland? Does everyone who steps foot into a casino end up homeless and destitute? The obvious answer is no. It is only “proven destructive” in the sense that it has risks and some people get truly bitten by those risks, but they are far from the norm. Should we ban skydiving, where the risk is death, and some people do in fact die? Should we take that decision away from them? Of course not.

              Nor do I presume to invent rights. The idea of de facto rights is well defined by the Ninth Amendment – “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. Nor do I confuse duty with rights. The governments responsibility (duty) to observe and protect the rights of its citizens is well established and is one of the foundations of American democracy. This would include the right of sound minded people to make questionable personal choices no matter how “poor, dumb, or gullible” they may be – which is in and of itself an offensive and inaccurate characterization.

              My argument is far more robust than mere “entertainment.” It is based on the well founded idea that people have the right to make what others may consider bad choices. I consider it a bad choice, you consider it a bad choice, but a choice it must remain. To prove this we may look through historical context to see where your argument has been used. Essentially it is that 1) gambling has grave social consequences, and 2) in the best interest of everyone we must not allow them to make a choice we know(!) to be destructive. I assert that this same argument has been used at various times to attack controversial books, homosexual behavior, interracial marriages, and the consumption of alcohol. That’s a disturbing similarity in any regard.

              In this case I fear you may be too close to the bite and the fear it inspires, to see any sound argument.

              • Go ahead, try me. Give me a sound argument that isn’t just recycled libertarian cant. I haven’t heard one yet.
                Are you really questioning whether legalized gambling is in effect a regressive tax? That gambling addiction isn’t real? That gambling causes catastrophic losses to many individuals, families and businesses? I’m not going to do your research for you—I’ve done mine. The burden of lotteries on the poor is well-established. The human tragedy advanced by Vegas is a matter of record. Here…I’m a nice guy, I’ll get you started:
                How about this from Harvard Medical school:

                According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, about 1% of American adults — nearly 3 million people — are pathological gamblers. Another 2%–3% have less serious but still significant problems, and as many as 15 million are at risk, with at least two of the symptoms described by the American Psychiatric Association (see box).
                Definition of pathological gambling

                Pathological gambling involves five or more of the following:

                Preoccupation with past, present, and future gambling experiences and with ways to obtain money for gambling.
                Need to increase the amount of wagers.
                Repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut back or stop.
                Becoming restless or irritable when trying to cut back or stop.
                Gambling to escape from everyday problems or to relieve feelings of helplessness, anxiety, or depression.
                Trying to recoup immediately after losing money (chasing losses).
                Lying about gambling.
                Committing illegal acts to finance gambling.
                Losing or jeopardizing a personal relationship, job, or career opportunity because of gambling.
                Requesting gifts or loans to pay gambling debts.

                Adapted from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, 1994.

                Most compulsive gamblers are men, but the problem is growing among women. African Americans have a higher rate of compulsive gambling than whites, and the rate is about twice the average among those living within 50 miles of a casino. The poor and people with limited education, exposed to tempting visions of unattainable wealth, are particularly susceptible.

                It’s a disease, you see. And government has an obligation to protect the public against disease. Your analogies are intellectually dishonest.

  7. Seeing how much revenue the state could bring in by encouraging minimum wage workers to spend five dollars a day on the gazillion to one chance of winning a 60 million dollar jackpot (“You have to play to win!”)—and knowing, but not telling, that if one of them does win, the odds say that the bonanza will a) last less than five years and b) ruin him—it was a natural progression for Maryland to allow slot machines.

    I thought the rich were getting richer.

    • Not the point or the data. The vast majority of big lottery winners have lost, given away or spent all the money within 5 years or less, because the difference between poor and wealthy goes a lot deeper than bank accounts, and includes family, good judgment, impulse control education, priorities, experience, upbringing and more.

      • Not the point or the data. The vast majority of big lottery winners have lost, given away or spent all the money within 5 years or less, because the difference between poor and wealthy goes a lot deeper than bank accounts, and includes family, good judgment, impulse control education, priorities, experience, upbringing and more.

        How so?

          • What do you mean, “How so?”

            How are “family, good judgment, impulse control education, priorities, experience, upbringing” included in wealth?

            • Family? Role models. Generally middle class parents don’t play the numbers. Horse and dog-racing gambling is a lower socio-economic class activity.
              Good judgement? People who make good choices generally end up in better economic conditions that thos that don’t. Gambling to excess is an example of bad judgment.
              Impulse control? Let’s see: the higher socio-economic classes have less drug use, violence, and single parent kids.

              Do I really have to spell all this out?

              • So then the rich are not getting richer, despite what some progressives say.

                The best way to redistribute the wealth is to let the rich be; most of them will either fritter it away (like Heidi Montag and Warren Sapps) or will blow it trying to help a West African prince move his fortune to America.

  8. “…legal greyhound racing, where dogs chase a fake rabbit around a track and those that lose too often are killed and turned into landfill.”

    Caught this on the 3rd or 4th read, and could not help but laugh. I know what you meant; but without “dogs” after “those,” it could have been read as meaning that gamblers who lose too often are killed, etc.

    • Or that the tracks or fake rabbits are killed. As with those options, however, the most likely antecedent by far remains “dogss.” I’d say “gamblers” is the least likely, being the farthest removed.

      • I’d say you’re right, after one more read. “Those” is suited for plurals, and “dogs” is the only plural noun in the whole long sentence. I’m still grateful for being spurred to laughter, even if for all the wrong reasons – something about gamblers in landfills…

  9. All I can say is, “Amen, Jack”. You hit on all the relevant points. No matter how you dress up the state lotteries or excuse them (with the old “it’s for the children” ploy) the fact remains that it’s still gambling, it still appeals mainly to the poor, it disrupts families and, despite state sponsorship, it is still a racket.

  10. It’s not only that the state permits gambling, but they forbid private citizens from competing against them in running gambling rackets. Gambling, or the euphemized “gaming”, is apparently so unethical that only government can be trusted to properly manage it.

  11. I enjoy gambling. It’s fun. I think it is great way for states to make money.
    If every thing that could ruin lives and families were against the law, not only would this be a very boring country but just about everything would be illegal.
    No baseball some people skip work and lose their jobs. No driving, some people are reckless. No sex some people are addicted to it.

    • Lame. And by the way, reckless driving IS against the law. Saying a state should make money by inducing poor, dumb, or desperate people to risk money they can’t afford is an indefensible position, and arguing that gambling is “fun” is not remotely germane. Anyone can have fun gambling without big casino games.

      • People need to take responsibility for their own actions. Just because a casino is there does not mean you have to gamble.
        Yes there are laws against reckless driving and people do it any way. Many people die.every year because of it. That’s a little more permanent then spending money. We could avoid those deaths by outlawing motorvehicles.
        I don’t really believe that driving should be illegal, nor do I believe that gambling should be. Both can cause harm if done irresponsibly, but that should not be grounds to prevent responsible adults from enjoying a Sunday drive or a night at the tables.

        • As I said, lame. Utterly lame. That chant can be used to justify eliminating all laws. If an activity is sufficiently dangerous and societally damaging to outweigh any benefits to those who can practice it safely, it is reasonable and responsible for governments to ban the activity. It is certainly outrageous for governments to encourage the activity because they can make money out of it. “It’s fun” and “you might as well ban driving” are not what I’d call serious or persuasive arguments to the contrary. There certainly are some, but not those.

          • My point is I don’t believe that casinos cause sufficient enough damage to society to warrant banning them.
            Obviously there are people out there who have gambling problems. Their deficiencies while unfortunate are not cause enough, to warrant banning gambling.

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